6 Ways to Boost Your Retirement Savings

Seniors with coffee

Saving for retirement may not rank high on your list of priorities - until you realize how little you've set aside for Life 2.0. Day-to-day living can keep you focused on shorter-term financial goals, such as saving for a down payment on a car or home. Fortunately, there are steps you can take right now to boost your retirement nest egg and prepare for a comfortable third act.

Here are six ways to catch up on your retirement savings:

1. Reprioritize spending.

First, consider a change to your spending habits. Reducing or eliminating unnecessary expenses is the fastest way to free up money for your retirement account. If you have memberships or subscriptions you rarely or never use, cancel them and redirect those funds to your retirement savings. Review your budget to identify spending that's keeping you from your retirement goals instead of moving you toward them.

2. Apply raises and bonuses toward retirement accounts.

While it's tempting to use a salary raise or bonus for a vacation or to expand your lifestyle, doing so when you're behind on retirement savings can cost you in the long run. Use these and other cash windfalls, such as tax refund checks, to boost your retirement savings. The extra funds can be just what you need to pad your account.

3. Maximize employer benefits.

If you're not participating in your employer-sponsored 401(k) retirement plan, you're missing out on an opportunity to make savings easy. Since retirement contributions often come directly out of your paycheck, you don't have to mull over the decision to contribute to your retirement savings each month. And, if your employer offers to match your contributions, be sure you contribute up to the maximum matching amount. 

For example, if your employer matches contributions up to 3% of your salary, be sure you contribute at least 3%. If you contribute less, you're saying no to free money for your retirement account.

4. Maximize catch-up contribution limits.

Most retirement plans have annual contribution limits. However, Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) and 401(k)s allow individuals age 50 or older to make "catch-up contributions." These extra contributions are in addition to the annual maximums. Contribution limits, including catch-up contributions, change each year. Visit the Internal Revenue Service website for current rules and limitations.

5. Rearrange account allocations.

If you already have a retirement account, review its performance. While you don't need to check the account every day, you should look at it at least annually to determine whether you should adjust your allocations. 

For example, an account that contains more bonds and cash equivalents than stocks may have slower growth than ones where the majority of the portfolio is held in stocks. The portfolio mix that's right for your situation will depend on your risk tolerance, age, and financial goals. But, unless you know where you stand with your current allocations, you won't know what adjustments you need to make.

6. Add another retirement plan account.

If you already contribute to a workplace retirement plan, you might add a Traditional or Roth IRA to your investment portfolio to save even more money and experience additional tax benefits. As with other investment accounts, annual contribution limits apply. And if you're 50 years of age or older, you might be able to contribute beyond the yearly limits. Your marital status, household income, and other factors may influence participation eligibility.

Saving for retirement can seem overwhelming, but you don't have to figure it all out on your own. Schedule an appointment with a trusted LPL Financial Advisor. They can help put together a customized plan to meet your retirement goals.